Karnataka crisis: Deve Gowda to meet BJP chief Saturday


New Delhi : Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) chief H.D. Deve Gowda will meet Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh here Saturday to discuss the power sharing issue between the two parties in Karnataka, a JD-S official said Friday, while the Congress said it would wait for the state’s ruling coalition to collapse.

Support TwoCircles

Deve Gowda was slated to meet Singh Friday evening but the meeting could not take place as the JD-S Political Affairs Committee meeting started late in the evening, said party general secretary Kunwar Danish Ali here.

The JD-S Political Affairs Committee met here at the residence of former prime minister Deve Gowda to work out a strategy over the continuing stand-off with the BJP. The meeting was followed by informal discussions among the JD-S leaders.

When asked about the reports from Bangalore that the BJP was threatening to withdraw support from the Kumaraswamy government on Oct 8, Ali said: “Our leadership has conveyed in Bangalore that the Kumaraswamy government will face a test of strength on the floor of the house on Oct 18. The state cabinet has decided upon it.”

According to the arrangement between the two parties reached in February 2006, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of the JD-S was to hand over the reins of office to the BJP after 20 months.

However, Kumaraswamy has refused to do so, leading to all the BJP ministers in his cabinet submitting their resignation on Tuesday night.

BJP ministers did not attend Friday’s meeting of the state cabinet. A view being expressed by observers is that Kumaraswamy would prefer being voted out of power on the floor of the house and would try to attain the status of a secular leader.

The BJP’s parliamentary board is also scheduled to meet on Saturday to decide on its future course of action in Karnataka. While the party leadership has been expressing hope on the transfer of power and has conveyed that there can be no negotiation on the chief ministerial candidate of the party, the general perception is that there is little chance of the JD-S handing over power to it.

The BJP’s candidate for the post of chief minister is Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa.

Danish Ali has been stating to the media over the last three days that he expects a Kumaraswamy-led government to continue in Karnataka.

Meanwhile the Congress party continues to adopt a wait and watch strategy on the developments in Karnataka. Party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters that the Congress would “wait for the coalition to collapse”. He said that both the parties — the BJP and the JD (S) — have “betrayed the common man”.

“We are watching the situation with a close eye and a sad eye,” he added.

When it was put to Singhvi that some of the Congress leaders were not averse to having a tie up with the JD (S) and helping the Kumaraswamy government survive, Singhvi said, “These are individual views”.